Aluminium project safe
Posted By rajlira On 21st September 2007 @ 00:01 In Local
Similajau aluminium smelting plant will use leading practice environmental standards: Rinto Tino bossKUCHING: The aluminium producing project at Similajau in Bintulu will be environmentally sound as the smelter, Sarawak Aluminium Company (Salco), would be using leading practice environmental standards based on Rio Tinto Aluminium’s (RTA) solid environmental credentials.
Impact of the mammoth project on the environment, especially around the Similajau National Park, would also be minimal, said Rio Tinto Aluminium Ltd Smelter Project Development general manager Matt Liddy.
Environmental protection will be an integral part of the management of the smelter during construction as well as operation, he said in an interview here yesterday.
Salco a joint-venture enterprise made up of the global aluminium producer RTA and Malaysian main board-listed conglomerate Cahya Mata Sarawak, has appointed two established companies namely Chemsain Konsultant Sdn Bhd and URS Australia Pty Ltd to conduct the detailed environmental impact assessment (DEIA) pursuant to construction works on the smelter.
The whole DIEA would be made public, tentatively, in the middle of next year but the public too, could keep abreast with it throughout the so-called public consultation period, he said.
The DIEA is being undertaken for submission and presentation to the Department of Environment Malaysia for approval prior to commencement of works, in accordance with Malaysian environmental legislation which comes under the Environmental Quality Act 1974.
It will include air quality, noise, flora and fauna, land use and social impact studies, he said adding that waste management, transport, surface water and ground water impacts will also be included in the comprehensive study, Liddy said.
“The EIA is a core component of Salco feasibility studies which are being managed by RTA,” he said adding that, the smelter is to be the first in Malaysia and be developed in phases using the latest technology in aluminium manufacturing.
He said the EIA was the first step towards ensuring all aspects of the environment are taken into account. It will include investigations into the project’s potential impacts on the environment and local community.
The outcome will be used to optimise the design of the smelter and will form the basis for the preparation of environmental management plans for Salco’s construction and operations.
Liddy said a team of environmental specialists will develop an environmental management system consistent with the ISO 14001.
“Respect for the environment is a fundamental part of Salco’s approach and the thorough study will ensure a smelter operation that uses only world class environmental management practices. It’s our way of making sure that a product we cannot live without is something our children can live with,” he pointed out.
“Greenhouse gas emissions per unit of aluminium produced will be minimised by use of energy-efficient technology and controls on perfluorocarbon emissions. The smelter will then re-use or send for re-cycling many of its wastes and by-products,” he explained.
Salco partner RTA has a solid history in environmental performance across its mining, refining and smelting operations, he said.
In the late 2005 RTA joined the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to form the Future Reef partnership and, this collaborative research partnership forms the basis of a world first investigation into potential impact of increasing levels of carbon dioxide on Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef.
“RTA has a strong history in environmental management particularly in Australia where it manages the country’s largest smelter Boyne Smelters Ltd in Gladstone, Queensland.
The smelter co-exists with a thriving local community located 400 meters away and is adjacent to Australia Great Barrier Reef,” he explained.
The Salco project represents another effort by the state government to boost the state and national economy which will then stimulates downstream activities and provided employment to the local people, he said.
Confident that the project would be a catalyst of development in the state Regional Corridor of Development comprising areas from Tanjong Manis to Simalajau, Liddy said it would create about 5,000 job opportunities, out of which 1,200 are directly linked to Salco.
He also assured that there would also be ample supply of raw material like bauxite to feed Salco plant. He believed first aluminium production in Sarawak through Salco would be in 2010.
“RTA owns bauxite mines, alumina refineries and aluminium smelters apart from having extensive experience in design, engineering, construction, commissioning and operation of world-class aluminium smelters An aluminium smelter converts alumina into aluminium metal. The alumina for the Sarawak smelter would be sourced from RTA,” he explained.
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